‘We need more female MMA fighters’

Rumblr, the new mobile phone application set to make Fight Club a reality, would have been quite useful to Laura Howarth during the early days of her MMA career.

“It was still relatively new in the UK especially for women, so to find other women to fight was really difficult,” she says.

 “It’s so hard to match females and I want that to change”

“Training was tricky at times, mostly because I was the only girl in the class and training with a bunch of men wasn’t the easiest. But I feel it has made me a stronger person and definitely helped with my career.”

Howarth, who trains at Gym01 in Portsmouth, is relatively new to the professional circuit having fought just three bouts – two wins and a loss. She made her name with four straight wins, one including a rear-naked choke, at amateur level before making her professional debut a year later in December 2013.

Her love affair with combat sport began at an early age. “I started karate when I was eight years old. I fell in love with this sport and as I grew I fell in love with combat sports altogether.

“I moved on to kickboxing, Muay Thai and finally MMA where I feel I can excel to my full potential. I have a pure love for striking but I love the nitty gritty of MMA.”

Encouragement and support

With MMA being the brutal sport that it is, it’s not an easy career choice for any young fighter – male or female.

Despite the giant steps of social progression we have seen over time, many families have frowned upon or even restricted their daughters from taking part in certain sports, particularly combat-based ones, as a career path.

“I see so many females training hard and enjoying the sport, but they can never take it as far as they want”

Howarth says of her own family: “They saw my love of sport and combat sports at a young age and they encouraged and supported that.

“When I told them I wasn’t going to college and was going to focus on a career in fighting, they wanted to support me, but continually asked when was I going to get a proper job.

“It wasn’t until they came to watch me fight and I went to Las Vegas to take part in The Ultimate Fighter that they believed in me. My family continually support me, and my parents help me out as much as they can. I couldn’t ask for more support.”

With her feet firmly planted on the ground, Howarth aims to climb all the way to the top. She says: “I’ve recently been signed to Invicta FC and I am waiting to make my debut with them, hopefully early next year. I plan on making a big impression and moving forward in my career.”

And as for the future of women in MMA, she adds: “I would like see it grow. I see so many females training hard and enjoying the sport, but they can never take it as far as they want to as they can’t get fights. It’s so hard to match females and I want that to change.”

Laura Howarth is on Twitter @LauraHowarthMMA

Photograph courtesy of Sherdog.com